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During my customary morning walk today, I was thinking of Batty who lives half a hemisphere away. She's much like our ancestors, who left their homelands across the Atlantic to a distant shore, or those who pulled up stakes in New England lock, stock, and barrel, and set out across a continent for a new homestead, a permanent new home, essentially forever.

A "forever" mindset takes a great deal of fortitude, of courage. I lived in Italy, sure, and in India. I moved from Connecticut to California, on my own when I was 16. But it's not the same when there's a future, a possibility of return. It's not forever. There's not the same sense of commitment, of turning one's back on the past, never to pass that way again.

Elderly people who move out of their homes into assisted living or into a care facility must have the same sense of finality. There's no going back. This move is forever, except perhaps into a hospital or nursing home.

I miss Batty, more than I realized I would; I guess I didn't understand at the time what buying property and establishing herself as a permanent resident would mean--return for visits only, and not often, since long trips are expensive. In earlier centuries, it would have been virtually impossible; good-bye was forever. I'm so glad we have 21st century connectivity.

The older I get, the more I think about "forever" and "never again".

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